The Chief Financial Officer’s final report on his evaluation of the
alternative plans for financing the baseball stadium, along with the
accompanying press release, presentation, and summary table of all the
plans, is now available online at http://app.cfo.dc.gov/CFORUI/news/release.asp?id=128&mon=200503.
I’ll post a copy on the DCWatch web site as soon as we get some time
away from the ongoing slots hearings. I’d appreciate your assessments;
Ed Delaney is first out of the gate with his, below.
In the meantime, read Steven Pearlstein’s column in the business
section of today’s Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38696-2005Mar15.html).
Pearlstein is a supporter of the stadium boondoggle, but a clear-sighted
one. He quickly cuts to the truth of both ballpark financing and rapidly
escalating property taxes. On property taxes: “The Big Lie here is
that the tax rate used in calculating property tax bills has mystical
qualities that require it to remain unchanged from year to year. In
fact, as any textbook on municipal finance will tell you, the tax rate
is simply the number you get when you take the amount of money you want
to spend on municipal services and divide it by the total assessed value
of the property to be taxed. So if assessed values go up 20 percent a
year on average, as they have been lately, at a tax rate of one dollar
per hundred dollars of assessed home value, anything less than a 16.7
percent reduction in the tax rate is a tax increase. Rather than reduce
rates, however, most local politicians prefer to use gimmicks like tax
caps, income tax rebates and higher homestead exemptions to give the
appearance of tax relief and frugality while getting credit for
expanding services.” As Ed Cowan wrote in the March 9 issue of themail,
homeowners should be advocating a reduced property tax rate.
And here’s Pearlstein on ballpark financing: “You can debate
whether you’d prefer one source of revenue for this project or
another, and whether they amount to ‘private’ or ‘public’
financing. But in the end, all of them, including the mayor’s plan,
involve borrowing $500 million to be repaid from a stream of anticipated
revenues from individuals and businesses. And all of them indirectly
subsidize the millionaires of Major League Baseball.” That is the
bottom line, isn’t it?
Sham of Ballpark’s Private Financing Options
Almost Played Out
Ed Delaney, firstname.lastname@example.org
“‘There’s nothing on the table that we can’t do ourselves,’
said Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, echoing a statement he has made for
months. ‘That’s the answer. There’s no real private money to be
had, and I think more people are finally understanding that.’” It’s
not for a lack of trying, right, Evans? Oh wait, maybe it is for a lack
of trying, especially considering Linda Cropp had to grind the
rubber-stamping party at the Wilson Building to a stop at the end of
last year to get private financing even remotely considered as an
option. Of course, the baseball brigade knew they could just reject
these proposals once they secured the supposed “last-resort” clause
that put DC and only DC on the hook for the entire stadium cost,
regardless of overruns and/or shortfalls associated with the project,
which will house a private business entity that is also part of a
“Gandhi’s initial review of eight offers of private financing
eliminated six bids, five of which sought to gain real estate
development rights near the stadium. The offers were rejected in part
because of concern the District could not legally gain land in the
ballpark area through eminent domain and then transfer it to a private
entity without competitive bidding.” How dare there be such pesky laws
that prevent the mayor and his baseball brigade from doling out
sweetheart deals to private entities without a competitive bidding
process! How’s a developer ever going to make ends meet with this sort
“The decision proved a major disappointment for Georgetown
developer Herb Miller, whose plan for a massive retail and residential
development near the ballpark had won many fans within the John A.
Wilson Building.” What a shame, especially since this ballpark is
going to be a major disappointment to the people who will lose their
homes and the business owners who will be displaced by the stadium, not
to mention District taxpayers who are on the hook for this project whose
cost has spiraled ever upward.
Visual Blight: ABC Licensee’s Broken Windows
Phil Carney, email@example.com
Trio Restaurant’s Fox and Hounds Bar is located on the 1500 block
of Seventeenth Street, NW. Last week a large portion of their front
window was broken. A week later, the window remains unrepaired. In
fairness to the owner, he is currently busy with expanding his
restaurant outside and into public space licensed for use to another
business, the now defunct Trio Pizza and Sub Shop. The owner has chosen
to give priority to improperly grabbing public space licensed to another
business rather than! be a good neighbor and repair the window damage.
Please be aware that in the same block J R’s Bar has had broken
windows-some boarded over and one large window unreplaced for about four
years! After fighting a unnecessarily divisive neighborhood battle to
expand into that adjacent building, the owner of JR’s Bar has chosen
to show his attitude toward our Dupont Circle neighborhood and city by
leaving the building abandoned and by leaving the broken windows either
unrepaired or boarded over.
Does Trio’s Bar intend to join JR’s Bar and never replace their
Ted Knutson asks [themail, March 13]: “if youth crime goes up on
days when the schools are closed for snow (or the prediction of
snow)?” How about being concerned about the reduction in opportunity
to learn? One way to “reduce youth crime,” and more importantly to
expand the community’s capacity to learn and grow, would be to expand
the school year. If the average DC student starts off behind, let’s
provide more time in school (N.B., I do understand that more of the same
things not working isn’t necessarily better, but I have hopes that the
curricular changes that are coming will be positive).
Suggestion One: how about a 210 or 220 day school year instead of 180
days? What better way to demonstrate DC’s commitment to K-12
education? Suggestion Two: consider adopting a year-round school
calendar. This could have at least three benefits, one that Ted would
find of interest. 1) better utilization of school facilities that would
require fewer school buildings overall; 2) elimination of the 2.5 month
long summer break, which is a period where youth crime does increase;
and 3) helping improve learning outcomes by reducing the time required
for catch up and review in each subsequent year.
Fire Code Violations and Complaints Against
Bryce A. Suderow, Streetstories@juno.com
A week ago this Tuesday I stopped by SE Branch Library and spoke to
the head of the branch. She told me maintenance people had been worked
there steadily the previous week, addressing the fire code violations
(after my letter to themail appeared [March 2]). She denied that my
letter had caused the work. She also denied that fire inspectors had
cited the library several times, something I heard the inspector say
with my own ears. Anyhow, I think my letter caused the library system to
fix the safety code violations at SE, so I’m happy.
In reply to Selina Musuta’s posting [themail, March 9] about the
effect of complaints on the conduct of the police. I don’t know what
you do when you’re faced with a dysfunctional police department. About
ten years ago, a firm called Booz-Allen did a study of the MPD. They
found that 10 percent of the cops did most of the arrests. The rest of
the cops did little or nothing.
I, as well as you, have had cops refuse to take reports or
complaints. I suspect many of us have. It makes me angry when they do
that because I realize they don’t want to do their job. On the other
hand, the captains, inspectors, and commanders in the MPD have for about
twenty years penalized officers who have complaints in their files —
they simply have a hard time getting promoted. My former PSA sergeant,
Diane Groomes, was held back for many years because Commander McManus
didn’t like the fact that drug dealers and their friends had lodged
complaints against her. At an award ceremony for her and other
outstanding officers, he leaned over and told her, “Where there’s
smoke there’s fire. There wouldn’t be all these complaints against
you if you weren’t doing something wrong.”
A Simple Solution
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom
Since there is a big difference in price of diesel fuel and home
heating oil, and they are the same basic petroleum product, it would be
quite easy to hook up a hand pump to the home heating oil tank in one’s
home to pump that oil right into your diesel powered automobile. One
would only have to add a small additive during the winter months to
prevent fuel gelling when the temps got well below freezing. Probably
One of our wonderful neighbors did some research and found out that
you can stop the delivery of the new Washington Examiner, for
either a short time or permanently, by calling their circulation
department at 1-800-531-1223 or sending an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I haven’t tried this myself, and there was an article in the Washington
Post about folks in Arlington who’d called repeatedly but were
still getting it delivered.
Stopping Examiner Delivery
Ann Carper, rochester54 at verizon.net
I’m with Steven Levy on the unwanted delivery of this paper. My
E-mail on March 14 to email@example.com
didn’t have any effect, so today (March 16) I called 800-531-1223 and
asked to have it stopped. We’ll see. (Both means of contact are
provided in the paper under “Questions about circulation and
I tried not picking up the rag, in hopes that the carrier would take
the hint as they piled up. No luck. But in my neighborhood, in the east
of Georgetown, they now have a box with free newspapers, and they’ve
stopped delivery. Good riddance.
Vacation Delivery Service
Vivian W. Henderson. VHende1886@aol.com
I would like to know from Steven E Levy how he got the Post to
stop delivery during his vacation. My last two times away from DC have
been a disaster. I put the request in to stop delivery two weeks in
advance, and the papers just kept coming. A neighbor saw them on my
front yard and picked them up. To make a long story short, while she was
picking up the papers from my front, her car was stolen. We have lived
in this city since 1939, and have always been Post readers, but
have decided that the next time we go on vacation, we will discontinue
the delivery service. What a shame. The Washington Post offers a
service that they do not provide.
Colonoscopy Advice Follow-Up
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to those on this list who asked for further information about
colonoscopies. I’ve posted some notes on the web at http://ilovecolonoscopies.blogspot.com/,
and will expand those notes based on further questions I receive — or
other things I think of that would be useful for people to know. Thanks
for alerting people you care about regarding the existence of this info.
I bet you were not expecting to become a colonoscopy expert when you
signed up to receive email@example.com.
I had no idea you would, either. I reckon that while we’re gathered
here we’re either helping each other or we’re not.
I was going to write a feature-length article about this topic for
the Washington Post health section. I made some progress on that
last year but, let me tell you, writing a feature length article for a
major city newspaper is far less comfortable than having a colonosopy.
The back and forth that can go on with an editor makes having a laxative
seem like a joy.
This is to advise that the March 2005 on-line edition has been
uploaded and may be accessed at http://www.intowner.com.
Included are the lead stories, community news items and crime reports,
editorials (including prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews
(prior months’ also archived), and the text from the ever-popular
“Scenes from the Past” feature. Also included are all current
classified ads. The complete issue (along with prior issues back to
March 2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home
page at no charge simply by clicking the link provided. Here you will be
able to view the entire issue as it appears in print, including all
photos and advertisements. The next issue will publish on April 8 (the
2nd Friday of the month, as always). The complete PDF version will be
posted by the preceding night or early that Friday morning at the
latest, following which the text of the lead stories, community news,
and selected features will be uploaded shortly thereafter.
To read this month’s lead stories, simply click the link on the
home page to the following headlines: 1) “Harris Teeter Project Ribbon
Cutting PR Event Focused on Invited Audience — Affected Residents
Unaware Beforehand”; 2) “Dupont Circle Historic District Hearing
Raising Policy Issues Seen as Troubling”; 3) “Tree Removals from
Private Property Now Restricted — Community Must be Informed.”
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Do you support voting rights for DC residents? DC School of Law
Foundation Vice President Daniel Solomon has asked me to invite you to a
DC Vote benefit performance by Betty this Thursday, March 17, at Theater
J, 1529 16th Street, NW (at Q Street, NW). Doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Dessert reception follows the
performance. Tickets for this DC Vote benefit performance are $25..
Purchase your tickets through http://boxofficetickets.com/dcvote
— they’re cheaper than at the box office.
Join DC Vote for a special benefit performance of Betty Rules. Betty
member are Elizabeth Ziff, Alyson Palmer, and Amy Ziff. There’s no
place quite like DC, and no band quite like Betty! Having dazzled the
crowds in New York and Chicago with their voices, songs and comedy, this
group of DC natives is coming home to the nation’s capital. Betty, the
trio, portray themselves in this tell-all tale of their
rock-and-rollercoaster ride from a basement in suburban Washington, DC,
to cult diva status. If you can’t attend but want to support us, make
a donation to DC Vote.
Betty Rules: The Exception to the Musical takes a fast-paced tour of
the band’s history, featuring hilarious comic vignettes and songs that
blend rock-and-roll with some of the tightest three-part harmonies you’ll
ever hear. Creating awareness of the movement to bring American
democracy to America’s capital, DC Vote is thrilled to have Betty
among its supporters and is excited to share this evening with the DC
Mendelson Tax Assessment Meetings, March 17,
19, 22, 23, 24
Alexander Evans, firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) will hold a set of six tax
assessment meetings throughout the District over the next two weeks. The
meetings are designed answer residents questions about the tax
assessment process, the tax appeal process, and deductions they may
qualify for. Representatives from the Office of Tax and Revenue will
accompany Mendelson at each of the meetings. This is the third
consecutive year Mendelson has held such meetings throughout the city.
Thursday, March 17, 7:00 p.m., for Observatory Circle, Glover Park,
and Spring Valley, at Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street,
Saturday March 19, 11:00 a.m., for Trinidad and Old City, at J.O.
Wilson Elementary School, 660 K Street, NE.
Tuesday March 22, 7:00 p.m., for Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan,
at Greater Washington Urban League, 2901 14th Street, NW.
Wednesday March 23, 7:00 p.m., for Brookland, Woodridge, and
Eckington, at Washington Center for Aging, 2601 18th Street, NE.
Thursday March 24, 6:30 p.m., for Crestwood, 16th St. Heights,
Petworth, Takoma Park, Brightwood, and Shepherd Park, at Jewish Primary
Day School, 6045 16th Street, NW.
Saturday, March 26, 11:00 a.m., for Hillcrest, Anacostia, and Fort
Dupont Park, at Luther Church of the Holy Comforter, 3319 Alabama
You are invited to join Americans for Democratic Action, Greater
Washington Chapter, campaign kickoff event. Join your fellow liberals on
the eve of the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq with
congressional representatives Barney Frank and Eleanor Holmes Norton,
and DC Councilman Adrian Fenty. Hear them talk about the effects the war
has had on the District of Columbia, the nation, and the importance of
being a liberal in today’s America, and how you can help.
Friday, March 18, 6-8 p.m., Hawk and Dove Bar and Restaurant, 629
Pennsylvania Avenue, NE. Two blocks toward the Capitol from Eastern
Market Metro. Start your weekend off right and ease into the night after
a late night from St. Patrick’s Day! Help us keep liberalism safe!
or call 716-1585 to learn more about ADA, http://www.adaction.org.
Creating Home Page Content with Impact, March
Barbara Conn, bconn at cpcug dot org
Merry Bruns of ScienceSites Communications will demonstrate home page
content techniques that can give your web site visitors the right first
impression. Do you know how much text you should have on your home page?
How should you organize it? Should the layout be packed with links, or
clean and simple? What kind of language should you use? And, more
important, how can you get people to act once they’ve read it? Home
page content has to reach a wide variety of readers, and it must be
grasped at a glance.
Gather your friends, colleagues, and family members and bring them to
the Saturday, March 19, 1:00 p.m. (check-in: 12:45 p.m.), TechTalk of
the Capital PC User Group (CPCUG) Entrepreneurs and Consultants Special
Interest Group (E&C SIG). This free TechTalk will be at the
Cleveland Park Library (1st Floor Large Meeting Room) at 3310
Connecticut Avenue, NW, just over a block from the Cleveland Park
Metrorail Station on the Red Line. For more information about this
TechTalk, the speaker, CPCUG (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational
organization), and to register for the event, visit http://www.cpcug.org/user/entrepreneur/305meet.html.
American Furniture of the Federal Period,
April 7, 14, 21, 28
Masha Raj, email@example.com
American Furniture of the Federal Period, 1790-1840, a lecture series
by Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald, will be held on Thursdays, April 7, 14, 21, and
28, at 7:00-8:00 p.m. (registration and light refreshments at 6:00
p.m.), at Dumbarton House, 2715 Q Street, NW. April 7: A Background in
Neoclassicism, April 14: The Early Federal Style (1790-1810), April 21:
The Late Federal Style (1810-1830) and The Late Empire Style
(1830-1850), and April 28: Is it Real? Identification of Furniture
Fakes. Fee per lecture: $20/person ($15/students); entire series:
$65/person ($50/students). Register by April 1. Please call 337-2288,
x222, to register or to receive more information.
In the early years of the new Republic, classical
principles of design derived from ancient Greece and Rome were given
their purest form of expression in the style of furniture we now call
Federal. Its striking beauty and simplicity of form distinguish Federal
furniture as one of the most celebrated styles among American
collectors. This series of lectures, presented by Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald,
will explain the origins, evolution, regional variations, and
connoisseurship of Federal period furniture.
Dr. Oscar Fitzgerald is a well known historian,
author, lecturer and consultant on American and European decorative arts
and architecture. Retired as the director of the Navy Museum in
Washington, DC, he continues to serve as curator for Tingey House, an
early 19th century, Federal style, mansion in the historic Washington
Navy Yard. He frequently conducts survey courses and workshops at the
Smithsonian Institution and has organized a number of special programs
there. Most recently Dr. Fitzgerald was awarded a prestigious James
Renwick Fellowship to research a new book on the history of the
contemporary studio furniture field.
CLASSIFIEDS — FREE
We’re renovating our kitchen and would like to donate a electric
range/oven and refrigerator to a nonprofit organization. The range/oven
is in great condition. the refrigerator works well, but is esthetically
challenged. If we can’t do that, we’d be happy to give the items to
anyone who will pay to have them delivered. Both items will be available
Please E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested or have any leads on nonprofits.
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
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switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the
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